Graduate Program in Acoustics


Master of Science

This degree is based on a combination of graduate course work and research which is documented and culminates in a Master of Science thesis. Both the course selection and research is directed by an advisor. When the student is working on the thesis research, at least 2 other faculty members, upon the advisor's suggestion, will be appointed to form a thesis committee.

By writing an acceptable M.S. thesis, a student demonstrates that he or she is capable of completing a well-defined, directed study of a limited problem and is capable of writing a relatively brief, coherent report summarizing the major objectives and results of the study. Although in most cases the thesis work will be publishable, this is not a requirement for the degree.

Because the entire Master's program, for a student on a 1/2 time assistantship, should typically require no more than 2 1/2 years to complete, it is paramount that a student begin work on the thesis research as soon as possible, and certainly before the end of the first year of study. In the first semester of residence, it is the responsibility of each student to determine what research is being conducted in the Program as well as which of the faculty members might be willing to serve as a thesis advisor. One way of learning what work is being done in the Program is for the students to attend some of the various seminars conducted each semester.

Upon completion of the thesis research, and after editorial review by the advisor, the student will supply the members of his or her committee with a clean draft copy of the thesis at least 2 weeks prior to the thesis defense. The student must then defend the thesis before the committee. Under very special circumstances, exceptions to this procedure may be granted by the Program Chair.

The thesis defense is open to the public and students are urged to attend the defense sessions of their colleagues to gain an appreciation of the proceedings. The Program Office must be notified at least 2 weeks prior to the scheduled thesis defense so that announcements of the defense can be circulated to faculty and students. A thesis presentation should emulate the presentation of a paper at a technical session of a professional society meeting. It should be presented in a definite time interval. The talk should have been rehearsed to verify the time required and to refine the presentation. The student is expected to answer questions from the committee without undue reliance upon the advisor. The student should address the weak points of his/her research as well as the major contributions.

The thesis must be written according to the guidelines discussed in the Thesis Guide available from the Graduate School. Historically, the signatory page is the page most often rejected by the Graduate School because of some error in format or in the citing of the title of members of the committee. The student is urged to pay particular attention to this page and to consult the Acoustics Program Office to eliminate unnecessary problems. After the thesis has been approved by at least two-thirds of the members of the committee, the final amended thesis draft will be reviewed again by the thesis advisor to ensure that it conforms to the recommended and agreed upon changes requested by the committee. An electronic copy of the thesis is required by the Graduate School and one bound copy is to be presented to the Acoustics Program Office. An additional bound copy may be required by the thesis advisor and/or committee members. Also, if the student or work was funded by the Applied Research Laboratory (ARL), 2 unbound copies of the thesis must be submitted to the ARL Office of Research and Academic Affairs. The costs of thesis preparation, copying, and binding are the responsibilities of the student.